There are many acronyms in military life. Some are serious like PCS (permanent change of station) or not so serious like, BCG’s (birth control glasses). The list goes on and on.
Any spouse, seasoned, dating, or just married spouse knows how confusing this life can be. Many spouses (myself included) throw themselves into this life. We try to learn all the acronyms, attend all the events, and make friends with everyone in our community.
Military life can be all encompassing if we let it.
Becoming consumed in the military life happens for a few reasons: we love our spouse, and country and want to show our support. It’s also hard to escape! Our lives are often dictated by the military.
Maintaining a sense of self and purpose is vital to thriving as a MilSO. Knowing who we are personally and professionally is a great way to remain grounded and sane in this life.
Listed below are a few ways to maintain your sense of self while being a spouse.
Create a personal mission/purpose statement for your life: A mission statement doesn’t have to be too long. To start writing one, ask yourself these questions:
What are my best character qualities? Where do I want to direct my time? Why?
Make friends outside the military: This one is a great way to create another community for yourself. Having military spouse friendships is wonderful, but diversity in friendships can be great as well. Each relationship/friend in your life serves a different purpose.
Volunteer Locally: This has been a game changer for me. I live in Norfolk and started volunteering pretty quickly. I used the website Idealist.org to find opportunities, but there are many different sites to check out. It was hard at first but turned out to be a great way to meet new people.
Find your tribe: There are over 500,000 spouses out there! Not everyone will be your cup of tea. I learned this the hard way. I tried to become friends with people I didn’t relate to. I found myself trying to change to fit in (hello high school?!) Finding new friends is a lot like dating. It takes a lot of time and effort. It’s sometimes awkward, but so rewarding when you find the right friend.
Keep Civilian Friends: We all have civilian friends from childhood, high school or college. Maintaining those friendships is so important. Moving doesn’t mean you have to let go of your civilian friends. It may take more work to keep the friendship, but it’s so worth it. These friends can be great reminders of your roots and and your pre-military life.
Military Events: There as SO many events to attend as a MilSO. Re-enlistment ceremonies, diaper parties, command barbecues just to name a few. It’s completely ridiculous to show up to every single event. It’s OK to say no. It doesn’t make you a “bad” spouse. It just means you are aware of your needs and desires.